ISS - Expedition 51 Mission patch.
April 25, 2017
International Space Station (ISS). Image Credit: NASA
(Highlights: Week of April 17, 2017) - As the International Space Station welcomed two new crew members – NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin -- and a resupply spacecraft, important science investigations continued, including another push to make space travelers more self-sufficient while exploring deep space.
A ground team commanded the Additive Manufacturing Facility (Manufacturing Device) on the space station to print two items over the course of the week. Installed on the station in 2015, the Manufacturing Device is a 3-D printer that uses additive manufacturing to build a part layer by layer using an engineered plastic polymer as raw material.
Image above: A Souyz rocket launches from the Baikonour Cosmodrome in Kazakhastan April 20, carrying Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikin and NASA astronaut Jack Fischer into orbit to begin their mission to the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA.
The Manufacturing Device is another step toward a permanent manufacturing capability on the space station. It will enable the production of components and tools on demand in orbit, which will allow further research into manufacturing for long-term missions. The station crew can use it to print a variety of items to perform maintenance, build tools and repair sections in case of an emergency, leading to a reduction in cost, mass, labor and production time. Further research will also help develop this advanced technology for use on Earth.
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson performed maintenance on the Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubator (MERLIN), replacing some of the desiccant inside to keep the experiments contained inside dry. MERLIN is a locker that can provide a thermally controlled environment for investigations in orbit to both extremes – both as an incubator and as a freezer. It is designed to operate with minimal crew interaction by most of the controls being commanded from the ground.
Image above: This illustration shows the configuration for conducting neurocognitive assessments for the Neuromapping study aboard the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA.
Among the other human research investigations, Whitson completed another session with the Spaceflight Effects on Neurocognitive Performance: Extent, Longevity, and Neural Bases (NeuroMapping) investigation. This study looks at whether long-duration spaceflight causes any changes to the brain, including brain structure and function, motor control, and multi-tasking, as well as measuring how long it takes for the brain and body to recover from those possible changes. Previous research and anecdotal evidence from crewmembers returning from a long-duration mission have shown that movement control and cognition are affected in microgravity. The NeuroMapping investigation uses structural and functional magnetic resonance brain imaging to assess any changes to crewmembers after long-duration missions. This may also provide additional insight into research on the neural mechanisms associated with behavioral and physiological changes, as well as brain rehabilitation after injury.
Other human research investigations conducted this week include Actiwatch Spectrum, Fluid Shifts, Habitability, and Dose Tracker.
Progress was made on other investigations, outreach activities, and facilities this week, including Device for the study of Critical Liquids and Crystallization (DECLIC HTI-R), METEOR, Cyclops, MCDA Cool Flames Investigation, and Fast Neutron Spectrometer.
Manufacturing Device: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2198.html
Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubator (MERLIN): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/29.html
Actiwatch Spectrum: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/858.html
Fluid Shifts: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1257.html
Dose Tracker: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1933.html
Device for the study of Critical Liquids and Crystallization (DECLIC HTI-R): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1030.html
MCDA Cool Flames Investigation: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/1947.html
Fast Neutron Spectrometer: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/2103.html
Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html
International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html
Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Kristine Rainey/Jorge Sotomayor, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 51 & 52.